Coach: You make 27 or so judgement calls each day. And a whole lot of other decisions flow from them. So it is vital that you get the calls right. This is the key to making good decisions.
Michael: When I decide on a topic for my blog is that one of those judgement calls?
Coach: Yes that is a good example. You can see the number of decisions that come from it. And how the quality of the first decision sets the scene for each of them.
Rational and emotional decisions
Coach: You use your mind and your heart to make your key decisions. And it is how well you get the balance between these right that makes for success.
Michael: Of course my gut-feeling can be strong at times but I am not sure about how to balance it with what I think. So I rarely make decisions based on it.
Coach: Even of your decisions about rational issues has an emotional side to it. Take for example the decision to buy a new car. The rational issues have to do with the make, performance, size and cost of the car. And what do you think the emotion side of it is?
Michael: For me it is about how I feel about the colour, the comfort of the upholstery and how the car looks.
Coach: That’s sums up the basics of it fairly well. Think also of your gut feeling about the deal. It can be the key to the making of a right decision.
Michael: So I need to think of the logical and emotional issues. And when I sort them out I need to look at my gut-feeling for the deal.
Coach: Good man. I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Decisions based on gut feelings
Michael: Is it always right to rely on my gut-feeling?
Coach: It isn’t always a good thing. It has its problems like when you get carried away by a passing mood. Or it causes you to overlook a key piece of information.
Michael: I can see how being in a bright or a blue frame of mind could colour my judgement. Is there something I can do about it?
How to blend the rational and the intuitive
Coach: How complex a decision is makes a difference. As a rule a gut-decision is better for a big issue. And a rational one works best for a smaller issue.
Michael: So if I want to buy a new phone I should list the pros and cons. The cost, its features, size, appearance and so on. And weigh up how important each of them is to me.
Coach: Right. And always have at least two of items to compare and to contrast. And pick the one that meets your key needs.
Michael: I’m happy about that. Now how should I go about making an emotional decision like to change my job?
Coach: A rational analysis can make things worse. Because you may fail to take account of some issues or to put too much importance on others. So you should go with your gut-feeling.
Michael: What is the best way for me to bring my feelings into sharp focus? As I may not even know what they are?
Coach: Write out the two best options on two pieces of paper. Then give them to a friend to decide. Ask yourself what you hope they will pick. Your answer is your true preference.
Michael: I like that. Have you any other tips for me?
Coach: It is a good idea to start with the rational and then go to the intuitive. Write out your goals, your options and the likely outcomes in detail. Study them. Then use your gut to decide what to do.
Michael: That’s really a good way to do it. I use a rational method to prepare the ground for a good gut judgement. I must remember to do that.
Coach: It is also a good idea to set a time limit. Give yourself half an hour or an hour to make a decision. Go over all the pros and cons and then make a snap decision.
Michael: Yes that will help me to deal with my habit of spending hours of dithering about what I want to do. And when I get tired of it I make a snap decision. If I cut this back to half hour I will save myself lots of bother.